MALIBU, Calif. Â The Pepperdine men’s water polo team ended its conference play Sunday with a 9-7 victory over UC Santa Barbara. The Waves (26-8, 3-5) and the Gauchos (18-12, 3-5) were tied for No. 7 in the national rankings last week.
Coming off of a big win Saturday against No. 3 UCLA (7-6), in a match that went into six overtime periods, Pepperdine appeared to be feeling the fatigue in the first half of the game. UCSB’s Matt Dale scored the first goal of the match at 6:49. Freshman Caleb Hamilton (Irvine, Calif. / Northwood HS) responded with a goal for the Waves with 2:48 left in the first quarter. Sophomore Clayton Snyder (Seal Beach, Calif. / Los Alamitos HS) added another goal for Pepperdine early in the second quarter, but the Gauchos Miles Golic and Ross Sinclair scored two goals with less than 3:30 left in the second to end the half with Pepperdine trailing 3-2.
The Waves came back in the third quarter with renewed energy to score five goals. Junior Grant Miller (La Verne, Calif. / Damien HS) tied the game with his second of three goals with 7:51 left 3-3. Golic put one in for the Gauchos at 7:28 to take the lead 4-3. Junior Matt Digges (Coronado, Calif. / Coronado HS) tied the game once again with his goal at 5:51. Pepperdine and UCSB traded goals three more times to tie the score at 7-7 until junior J.P. MacDonell scored with 2:27 left in the game giving the Waves a 8-7 lead. Sophomore Brett Auer scored the final goal of the game with 1:23 left giving the Waves a 9-7 win. UCSB’s goalkeeper Rick Wright was credited with six saves, while sophomore Travis Stachowski (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. / Foothill HS) recorded 10 saves for the Waves.
“This game was a character builder for our team. They were tied in the fourth, fighting exhaustion from yesterday’s match and they took advantage of a man-up opportunity to take the lead,” said head coach Jack Kocur. “We struggled with our man-up scoring percentages this season and it’s finally coming together. They’re playing tough in the fourth and in overtime.”
Next up for Pepperdine is the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at UC Berkeley on Friday, Nov. 23-25.
PEPPERDINE vs. UC SANTA BARBARA 9-7
1 2 3 4
PEPP 1 1 5 2 -- 9
UCSB 1 2 3 1 -- 7
PEPP GOALS : Grant Miller (3), J.P. MacDonell (2), Clayton Snyder, Matt Digges, Caleb Hamilton, Brett Auer. -- 9
UCSB GOALS: Miles Golic (2), Matt Dale (2), Zsimbor Vincze, Miles Price, Ross Sinclair.Â7
SAVES: STACHOWSKI (10), WRIGHT (6).